Markram shines as Proteas make solid start to second test
- Markram out for 94 and denied third test ton
- Hashim Amla dropped twice, not out on 35
- South Africa won the toss and elected to bat
PRETORIA: South Africa's Aiden Markram fell six runs short of what would have been a sparkling century as the hosts continued to dominate the opening day of the second test against India, reaching 182 for two at tea on Saturday.
Markram edged a delivery from spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel on 94 coming from 150 balls as he was denied a third test century in his seventh innings.
Hashim Amla (35 not out) and AB de Villiers (16 not out) will resume after the interval, looking to build a commanding first innings total for South Africa on what is a slow wicket that is due to quicken up on the second and third days.
The home side can clinch the three-match series with a win, having taken the first test in Cape Town with a 72-run victory.
Amla has had two pieces of good fortune already, dropped on 30 by Hardik Pandya off Ashwin and then again on the same total when Patel made a hash of a nick down the leg-side from the bowling of seamer Ishant Sharma.
Ashwin (2-53) also claimed the wicket of opener Dean Elgar (31) as the left-hander stroked a delivery into the body of silly point Murali Vijay, who reacted brilliantly to grasp the ball as it rebounded off him.
South Africa had resumed after lunch on 78 without loss and 23-year-old Markram seemed set for his century as he took the attack to the Indian bowlers.
After test tons against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe since his September debut, Markram now also has two scores in the 90s having made a fine start to his five-day career as the answer to South Africa’s long-running issues with the opening position.
South Africa, who won the toss and elected to bat, handed a debut to tall seamer Lungi Ngidi who is regarded as a hugely promising talent and will expect to get steep bounce at a brisk pace on his home pitch in provincial cricket.
India made three changes from the first test as opener Lokesh Rahul, wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel and seamer Ishant Sharma replaced Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha and Bhuvneshwar Kumar respectively.